Reinventing Mid-Sized Constructions with Strength and Flexibility

By Scott Steele

The steel trussses made the Best Buy Metals booth quick and easy to put together.

The world of mid-sized post frame construction projects, from multi-car garages to spacious workshops, is witnessing a surge in the use of angle iron steel trusses. These prefab steel marvels are changing the game for builders and contractors, offering a compelling alternative to traditional wooden beams. This article dives into the myriad advantages of steel trusses, highlighting their economic and structural perks that are winning over pros in the construction industry. Brian Tomlinson, with TMW Construction, said, “They make it a whole lot easier and cheaper than putting up regular wood trusses.”

The Best Buy Metals team begins the process of setting up their booth at the 2024 Garage, Shed & Carport Show in Knoxville.

Unveiling the Power of Steel: Strength and Durability

At the heart of the steel truss revolution lies its unmatched strength. Compared to similar-sized wooden beams, steel trusses can handle significantly heavier loads. This means wider spans and more open floor plans, perfect for versatile buildings like workshops and garages. Steel trusses give builders the freedom to create expansive, column-free interiors, maximizing space usability.

Embracing Open Floor Plans: Clear Span Capabilities

One standout feature of steel trusses is their ability to achieve clear spans effortlessly. Unlike wooden beams that require support posts at regular intervals, steel trusses eliminate this need. This results in spacious interiors devoid of obstructive columns, offering designers greater flexibility and efficient use of space. Picture a multi-car garage with room to spare or a workshop without pesky posts hindering movement.

For example, angle iron steel trusses spanning 10 to 12’, besides a more open layout, also mean that steel truss buildings install much quicker than lumber trussed buildings, since contractors are installing considerably fewer posts and fewer trusses, which decreases the labor hours with their costs. Less labor hours on one project equals additional productivity time and, in return, more revenue.

Minimal Maintenance: A Long-Term Advantage

Steel trusses are inherently resistant to the elements. To boost this resilience against rust and corrosion, many quality trusses will have a coating to encapsulate the metal underneath. This translates to significantly reduced maintenance compared to wooden beams, which are prone to rot, warping, and insect damage. Builders can rely on steel truss structures to stand the test of time with minimal upkeep, slashing long-term costs and ensuring structural integrity.

Enhanced Fire Safety: A Crucial Consideration

Fire safety is paramount in any construction project, and angle iron steel trusses excel in this regard. They offer superior fire resistance compared to wood, able to withstand intense heat for prolonged periods. This extra time can be critical for evacuation in case of fire, making steel trusses an attractive choice for safety-conscious builders.

Dimensional Stability: Assuring Structural Integrity

Unlike wood, which can warp and crack over time, steel trusses maintain exceptional dimensional stability. They’re less susceptible to bending or warping, ensuring the building stays sturdy and retains its shape for years to come. This stability is crucial for builders aiming to construct durable and reliable buildings. This obviously plays into the quality of the finished construction. Most homeowners expect to pay higher prices for superior products, and because it’s a niche market skill set, there will likely be less competition for projects. Considering that materials and labor will likely be reduced for the contractor, the quotes to homeowners can actually be more than traditional timber truss based construction. This combination makes steel trusses very attractive.

Sustainable Solutions: A Focus on the Future

The steel industry is making strides in sustainability, with many manufacturers using recycled steel content in their products. While steel trusses may have a higher upfront carbon footprint than wood, their longer lifespan and potential for future recycling contribute to a more sustainable building lifecycle.

Ease and Efficiency: Streamlining the Construction Process

Prefab steel trusses are manufactured to precise specifications, ensuring a smooth assembly process compared to traditional wooden beams. This results in reduced construction times and labor costs, allowing builders to finish projects faster and potentially boost profits. Owner/contractor Macon Hill of TrackRock Builders, LLC had this to say, “Steel trusses offer several advantages over timber trusses. They are easier to work with…lightweight and consistent properties…installation faster and more efficient…steel trusses provide greater strength and durability, ensuring a longer lifespan and reducing the need for maintenance. As someone who has been using steel trusses in my business for the past four years, I can confidently recommend them for their reliability and overall performance.”

To put it another way, Andrew Milsaps with Lefevers Construction Company said, “Quick Install. Happy customer.”

Beyond the Advantages: Addressing Considerations

While steel trusses offer compelling benefits, it’s important to consider certain factors. As with any construction project, cost is very important, as well as any specialized equipment that may be needed for installation of trusses due to their weight. However, the long-term advantages often outweigh these considerations, making steel trusses a wise investment for mid-sized construction projects. Esther Libbey with Best Buy Metals (Knoxville, Tennesse location) said, “Most of my customers tell me that these steel truss buildings are actually less expensive than lumber trussed buildings. This is because even though each individual truss is more expensive than a wooden truss, they can span an area that would require five to six lumber trusses. Lumber trusses are usually installed at 2’ centers, while angle iron steel trusses are strong enough to span 10’ to 12’. With the decrease in truss quantity, fewer posts, fewer post bases, and less concrete to hold those posts are also needed, so the building is often less expensive.”

Scott Steele is a digital marketing specialist at Best Buy Metals ( For builders and contractors looking to harness the benefits of steel trusses, reputable suppliers like Best Buy Metals ( and American Pole Barns ( offer a wide range of prefab options alongside metal roofing and siding. GSCB